This is not just a local issue – it is a national issue
- From Education Guardian November 7 2006
‘Specialised colleges and universities risk being swallowed up by larger institutions if government funding does not recognise their strengths, a conference was told today.
Pamela Taylor, the chairwoman of GuildHE - the group representing higher education colleges - told its annual conference that specialist colleges had a unique role in higher education that needed to be preserved.
Ms Taylor said: "Distinctive and specialist higher education institutions [HEIs] make a major contribution to diversity. They offer an alternative for many students to studying in one of the large, general institutions. Some of them offer subject specialisms not available elsewhere.
"As such they are effective guardians of those subjects. If they were to be merged, or cease to exist, it is probable that those subject specialisms would also cease to be available."
She said distinctive and specialist HEIs were leaders in key fields of study such as the creative arts, agriculture, education and some medical and health-related areas.
Ms Taylor said: "Collectively, distinctive and specialist HEIs represent a major concentration of 'practice' - in teaching, research and knowledge exchange. They often hold exceptional links to their respective worlds of work.
‘They have an important role in applied and near-market research. Their use of professional practitioners also benefits the vitality of the curriculum, the attraction and retention of staff, employability and the employment of graduates.
"For growing numbers of students, the need for personal contact is a vital part of their higher education experience. This is an area where many smaller and specialist HEIs play to their strengths”
- From The General Conference of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation October 2005 :Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions –
‘Cultural activities, goods and services conveying identities, values and meanings have both an economic and a cultural nature, and must therefore not be treated as solely having commercial value’
- Higher education is increasingly being funded by business partnerships and models of value are based on economic factors and short term economics– with measures of cultural value, cultural impact on the region, and long term implications for society not being considered as factors in decision making.